Formal Employee Investigation Process

An investigation is the formal administrative process the university uses to find out what happened, determine who, if anyone is responsible for what happened, and whether the university discrimination/ harassment policy has been violated. A university investigation is an administrative process, not a legal proceeding.

Typically, the information that is gathered as part of an investigation includes but is not limited to:

  • Interviews
  • Relevant evidence such as:
    • Texts
    • Emails
    • Notes
    • Photographs
    • Recordings
    • Documents
    • Diagrams and pictures
    • Other written, non-written, hard-copy and electronic materials

Investigation Process

Timeline for the Investigation and to Resolve the Complaint

The university works to invesitigate complaints thoroughly and expeditiously as possible completing the necessary due diligence to resolve complaints. The exact timeline is case specific. You will receive updates from the investigator regarding the timeline for resolution.

Role of the Investigator

The investigator is a trained individual assigned to investigate the complaint who is neutral and does not have an interest in the outcome of the investigation.

The role of the investigator is to gather relevant evidence and determine whether anyone violated the university’s discrimination and harassment policy. The investigator makes such determinations based upon a preponderance of the evidence, which means based on the information available, what more likely than not occurred.

Interview with the Investigator

During the interview, the investigator will:

  • Ask you questions related to the complaint.
  • Listen.
  • Take notes.
  • Ask you for the names of any other individuals who may have information or knowledge of the situation and about what happened.
  • Provide you an opportunity to present information and material related to the situation and about what happened.
  • Provide you an opportunity to respond to the information that will be relied upon and other information gathered.
  • Request that you keep the information you share with the investigator confidential while the investigation is happening. This request is made to protect the integrity of the investigation process.

Investigation Report

Once the investigator has finished interviewing witnesses and gathering information, the investigator reviews the information and determines which information is relevant and will be used as part of the decision-making process. 

Next, the investigator will write an investigation report that documents the process. A summary of findings will be provided to the complainant and respondent. A summary will also be provided to other university representatives, such as supervisors and Employee and Labor Relations representatives, as necessary to address policy violations or resolve problematic conduct or behavior.

Participation in the Investigation

An investigation is how the university gathers information about a complaint in order to determine whether anyone violated university policy. The investigator will make a finding and come to a conclusion based on the information made available to the investigator or that the investigator was reasonably able to gather during the investigation.  Non-participation in an investigation by a respondent or a witness will not prevent the investigation from proceeding.  The university encourages students to fully participate in an investigation and expects that employees participate in an investigation. 


Prohibition on Retaliation

The university prohibits retaliation against anyone who raises a concern or makes a report of discrimination or harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.  The university also prohibits retaliation against anyone who cooperates with or participates in a university investigation or process to resolve a complaint or report of discrimination or harassment.

When you make a report of discrimination or harassment you become part of the official university resolution process. Should you believe that you are the subject of an act of retaliation as a result of making a report, contact the the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance immediately so that someone may assess the situation and offer assistance and resolution as appropriate.

What Is Retaliation?

Retaliation is action taken against an individual(s) for:

  • making a report or complaint of discrimination or harassment
  • opposing discrimination or harassment
  • participating in a university discrimination resolution process, that deters the willingness of individuals to speak out against discrimination and harassment and from participating in the complaint resolution process.

Examples of retaliation may include:

  • Actions that result in an adverse impact on someone’s work or professional position (such as transfer the employee to a less desirable position)
  • Actions that inhibit or prevent full participation in the educational environment
  • Increased scrutiny of an individual’s work, actions or contributions
  • Ceasing to communicate with an employee or student such that the lack of communication has an adverse impact on the ability of the employee or student to fully participate in the work and education environment
  • Spreading false rumors about the individual, their family, partners, friends
  • Threats and intimidation (such as threatening to report an individual to the authorities)
  • Making an individual’s work or education more difficult (such as purposefully changing a work schedule to conflict with family responsibilities or academic deadlines or schedules that interfere with an individual’s academic progress)

Advisors for Complainants and Respondents

The following applies to individuals who are not represented by a union:

You may bring an advisor to any interview with the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance (OICRC) and any administrative meeting related to a complaint which is being investigated or addressed by OICRC.  We strongly recommend that your advisor not also be a witness in the matter being addressed by OICRC.  Your advisor may offer support to you, however, your advisor may not speak or act on your behalf, nor take any action that impedes or disrupts any interview, meeting, or the university’s investigation and resolution of a complaint.

If you intend to bring an advisor to an interview or meeting, we ask that you complete the Advisor Designation Form and return it to OICRC before your first OICRC interview or meeting.

The following applies to employees represented by United Academics, Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, Service Employee International Union, or Teamsters:

As a represented employee, you are entitled to have a union representative or another advisor with you at any interview with the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance (OICRC) and any administrative meeting related to a complaint which is being investigated or addressed by OICRC, provided your advisor is not also a witness in this matter.  Your advisor may offer support to you, however, your advisor may not speak or act on your behalf, nor take any action that impedes or disrupts any interview, meeting, or the university’s investigation and resolution of a complaint.  If your advisor is your union representative, the union representative may seek clarification of questions, ask you questions eliciting further relevant information and may suggest other witnesses to be interviewed.

If you intend to bring an advisor to an interview or meeting, we ask that you complete the Advisor Designation Form and return it to OICRC before your first OICRC interview or meeting.

OICRC communication with complainants, respondents, and advisors:

OICRC will communicate directly with complainant and respondents.  OICRC will not communicate in writing with advisors except regarding scheduling. Once the Advisor Designation Form is completed by a complainant or respondent requesting that an advisor be copied, OICRC will make reasonable efforts to copy advisors on communications we send to a complainant or respondent.

An advisor may not speak or act on behalf of the complainant or respondent, may not provide substantive information, and may not take any action that impedes or disrupts any interview, meeting, or the university’s investigation and resolution of a complaint.


Workplace Fairness Requirements

State law makes it an unlawful employment practice for employers to discriminate on the basis of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age, and/or disability, and such claims are subject to a five year statute of limitations.  A victim of workplace harassment may seek redress from the university by submitting a complaint to the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance.  The university promptly investigates all reports of workplace harassment pursuant to the processes set forth above.  The university shall follow up with complainants who allege workplace harassment once every three months for the calendar year following the date on which the university receives the report of harassment, to determine whether the alleged harassment has stopped or if the complainant has experienced retaliation, unless the complainant objects to such action in writing.  Individuals who experience workplace harassment may also seek relief through the Bureau of Labor and Industries’ complaint resolution process under ORS 659A.820 to 659A.865, or in a court of law.  Legal claims against the university or any other public body must comply with ORS 30.275, which requires a notice of tort claim within 180 days of the alleged loss or injury.

Pursuant to state law, the university may not require or coerce an employee to enter into a nondisclosure or nondisparagement agreement (i.e., a contract that prohibits one party from not disclosing information about or criticizing the other) unless the employee requests the agreement and is provided at least seven days to revoke the agreement.  Employees are encouraged to document any incidents involving conduct that constitutes prohibited discrimination under state and federal law. See ORS 659A.001 et seq.